WASHINGTON -- The White House public relations offensive for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor reached the floor of the Senate today when a series of Democratic women senators took the floor to praise her and highlight her qualificatons.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senate colleagues Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire lauded Sotomayor’s 17-year record on the federal bench and her experience as a prosecutor and trial judge.
Klobuchar, who was a prosecutor in Minneapolis before coming to the Senate, said Sotomayor’s experience "particularly resonated with me.” When she met with Sotomayor, Klobuchar said, she realized the nominee "understands the law is not just some dusty book in your basement" but involves real people, and how the law is interpreted can have consequences.
Landrieu said Sotomayor's life story, from the housing projects of New York City to the doorstep of the nation's highest court, "captured my attention," and hailed her intellect, character and credibility. McCaskill called Sotomayor a nominee who "has integrity, grit, intellect, and the ability to pass judgment in the most difficult intellectual challenges that face a Supreme Court Justice."
The floor speeches come just days after Klobuchar and others praised Sotomayor's nomination at the annual convention of the American Constitution Society, a left-leaning legal organization.
In a speech Monday, according to the ACS blog, http://www.acslaw.org/acsblog Klobuchar defended Sotomayor against conservative critics who are questioning her temperament, citing complaints that she didn't have patience for lawyers who weren't prepeared. "Now this sounds a little familiar to me. At least where I come from, asking tough questions and having very little patience for unprepared lawyers is the very definition of a judge," Klobuchar said. "I was hoping that we would get to a point in this country where we could be appointing and confirming as many as rough and to-the-point female judges as we have appointed male judges."
Days earlier, according to the ACS, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, also took Sotomayor's Republican critics to task, accusing them of a "harsh, narrow-minded" mindset for making empathy -- a quality President Obama said he wanted in a justice and saw in Sotomayor -- a liability for a nominee.
"Indeed, is Judge Sotomayor's life experience as a wise Latina woman, or President Obama's concern for judicial empathy, really the issue?" Whitehouse said. "Or does that stated concern reveal more about the critics than about the judge and the President? Does it not perhaps reveal impatience with any worldview that has not been groomed in corporate boardrooms, scrubbed by the Federalist Society, cosseted by privilege and exclusion, and comforted by the status quo?"
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.